RE: [OPE] "Parasitism"

Date: Tue Feb 17 2009 - 20:16:54 EST

> Jean Gadrey in his book New Economy, New Myth, points to a problem that
> follows from this absence of abstract labor in the service sector (though he
> doesn't himself identify the problem in such terms): "What do terms such as
> 'growth' and 'productivity gains' mean when applied to services such as
> consultancy, education, health, social welfare, research or insurance? Where
> are the standard product units that would make it possible to compare the
> quantities produced over time?"
> ie, where are objects, where are the commodities?





There is a pretty extensive literature in mainstream economics dating back to the

late '60's and continuing until the early 1980's concerning productivity

measurement in the service sector. Even in industry, where there are

what you call "produced objects", there are lots of measurement difficulties

and conceptual problems associated with productivity. While difficult to

quantify, I will say that *in practice* there are measures which are developed

which are specific to the market or sector for measuring productivity. E.g.

many public workers are familiar with "case loads". Even the police have

productivity standards imposed on them: e.g. their productivity can be (and

is, in many cases) measured by the amount of tickets they write. As

an educator, I can tell you that we have productivity expectations and standards

imposed on us as well. These standards are *necessary* from management's

perspective - which is exactly why they come into being in the first place -

since they are a tool used by mgt. to increase workers' productivity. Do not

think for a moment that time-and-motion study and 'scientific management'

are only used against workers on jobs where there are 'produced objects'.


In solidarity, Jerry


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Received on Tue Feb 17 20:21:58 2009

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